Now space travel for Indians

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New Delhi, Oct 16 (UNI) Space tourism comes to India with Virgin Galactic setting up their first office here to cater to customers interested for travelling into the final frontier.

''This is the final frontier and now people of India will have the chance to access this incredible experience. We are exited to be here and are sure that many Indians will be soon traveling to us,'' Virgin Galactic Head Astronaut (Operation) Carolyn Wincer told reporters here.

To spearhead marketing, Deluxe Travel Europe Ltd, which is the official Accredited Space Agent of Virgin Galactic and GD Goenka World Travel have formed a new company called Spazio Travels to cater to space travel.

The ticketing will be done by the Austria- based Deluxe travel office in Vienna.

Mr Santhosh George Kulangara is the first Indian space tourist to book a Virgin Galactic space ticket.

Mr Kulangara, has successfully completed the 'zero gravity' training in the special aircraft named G Force One which took off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, US.

Futron, a market research firm, predicts that as many as 14,000 space tourists will be heading into space each year by 2021, generating annual revenue of more than 700 million dollars.

Virgin Galactic, part of businessman Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, will fly its passengers on sub-orbital flights aboard its SpaceShipTwo, built by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites.

The first 100 passengers, who have already paid the full 200,000 dollar fare, are referred to as ''Virgin Galactic Founders.'' Virgin Galactic, plans for its maiden flight in 2009, will initially operate from the Mojave Spaceport in California, eventually establishing its headquarters and moving its US operations to Spaceport America in New Mexico.

For their 200,000 dollar, these individuals will receive four days of specialised training followed by a three-hour flight involving just five minutes of weightlessness at an altitude of 110 kilometers, above sea level.

Virgin says passengers will be able to see 1,000 miles in any direction, as well as the curved blue line of the Earth's atmosphere against the black sky of space.


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